On 22nd Ave, listening in on Seattle’s new design review community process

The community meeting was held at the site of the planned development (Image: CHS)

Seattle has a new design review process designed to add more community time and discussion as developers continue to reshape many areas of the city. Hybrid, a Capitol Hill architecture firm located on E Pike, held one of Seattle’s first early community outreach meetings as mandated by the new design review process last week.

As CHS reported last month, an ordinance passed last year that went into effect July 1st requires developers to “actively solicit community input before beginning the design review process” if the project begins its development permitting process after that date.

This new rule allows Seattle residents early opportunities to shape local developments and, hopefully, create more transparency and community engagement in the design process.

The meeting on 162 22nd Ave dealt with the demolition of an existing blue single-family home that sits on this property to create room for the construction of three new townhouse units and one single family residence. Five neighbors from the surrounding houses attended the outreach gathering hosted by three members of the Hybrid team.

“What are your guys’ main concerns about it? Is it the fact that it’s here at all? Is it the density? Is it the parking? Is it the building form?” Continue reading

What has bubbled to the top of ’30 ideas’ for saving — and developing — Seattle studios, galleries, and music venues

Not everything is about preservation. The new Hugo House is set to open soon on 11th Ave.

As Seattle once again wrestles with the fragility of its arts spaces in the face of continued growth, change, and development, the Seattle City Council this week heard an update on City Hall’s efforts to preserve and grow the number of studios, galleries, and performance venues on Capitol Hill and across the city.

Tuesday, the Seattle Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development & Arts Committee convened to discuss the cultural space access and stabilization project currently being undertaken by the Office of Arts and Culture (ARTS).

ARTS has been working for the past eight months to implement concepts proposed in The CAP Report: 30 Ideas for the Creation, Activation and Preservation of Cultural Space (PDF), which was published by ARTS last year. ARTS is assessing the feasibility of the project and working on a racial equity toolkit to ensure the communities of color that will be impacted have their voices heard.

Council member Lisa Herbold, chair of the committee, expressed her support for the project and its research.

“Our ability to preserve cultural spaces is really important,” Herbold said. “It goes beyond one particular threatened cultural space and we really need to figure out what the tools are that we have available.” Continue reading

Rental study finds challenging times for Seattle renters *and* landlords — and confirms what you probably already assumed about Capitol Hill’s new, larger buildings: They charge more

(Image: Excelsior Apartments)

Outcomes of a new effort at City Hall to study rental housing trends show challenges for both tenants and landlords — and that larger developments are asking for higher rents than smaller buildings.

A group of researchers from the University of Washington surveyed both landlords and renters in the Seattle area to learn about the state of the rental market and the effectiveness of recent ordinances enacted by the City Council.

While the Seattle Rental Housing Study did not deal with broader trends, such as overall rent prices, it did deal with the attitudes of those involved in the rental market. The research was required by two city ordinances passed in 2016 and included in the 2017 budget. Ordinance 125114 prohibits unfair practices for screening and choosing tenants and Ordinance 125222 limits security deposits and non-refundable move-in fees.

Despite their goal of aiding renters, the team’s focus groups had no familiarity with the new ordinances and were skeptical about their effectiveness.

“All of the renters that we spoke to in all of the focus groups, they expressed a high level of barriers to housing access,” research lead Kyle Crowder said at a July 24th meeting of the Seattle City Council’s renters rights committee about recent movers his team surveyed,

The barriers renters are referring to are more numerous than just the lack of affordability in Seattle, but that was one of the most frequently cited issues.

“The renters that we spoke to in our focus groups feel squeezed financially by the housing market,” Crowder, a professor of sociology at the UW, said at the meeting. “That was a common theme.”

Other problems mentioned by renters were a “lack of transparency in application/leasing process” and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or source of income, especially for voucher recipients, according to the study. Continue reading

The Eldridge, preservation plus seven stories on Broadway — and in ‘the sweet spot’ of affordability

(Image: Mithun)

Local community members got the first look at plans for The Eldridge, a preservation-friendly seven-story affordable housing development on the property of the auto row-era Eldridge Tire building, located on the 1500 block of Broadway between Pike and Pine, earlier this month at a meeting of the Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council.

Walter Zisette, the associate director of real estate development at Capitol Hill Housing, one of the developers of the project, said that the level of planned affordable housing is in “the sweet spot” compared to other developments in the neighborhood. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Alley Party 2018? Benefit for immigrant rights will extend music fest enthusiasm into activated backstreet

In a creative fundraising opportunity, E Pike’s Capitol Cider will use the alleyway west of Broadway between Pine and Pike to celebrate multiculturalism and raise money for the Northwest Immigration Rights Project (NWIRP) during the Capitol Hill Block Party, which takes place from Friday, July 20th to Sunday, July 22nd.

“A lot of us here at Capitol Cider are upset about the current situation regarding immigration and asylum seekers,” Julie Tall, the owner of Capitol Cider, tells CHS.

Capitol Cider has decided to mobilize their resources in Capitol Hill to support the rights of immigrants as the cider bar continues its annual tradition of embracing the activity around the outdoor music festival to throw a celebration of its own. Continue reading

For first time in forever, developer planning a new Capitol Hill condo building

The Capitol Hill condo project will be a twin to this development already underway in Eastlake (Image: Build Urban)

They’re far from frozen but industry analysts claim Seattle’s rents have finally cooled. Want further proof? A Seattle developer has announced plans to pass over the lucrative rental market and take on all the risk — and, hopefully, all of the reward — of building a condominium building on Capitol Hill.

A planned six-story condominium development at 127 Bellevue E will be made up of 44 small, relatively inexpensive units you can buy, not rent.

“The plan is to provide affordable, walkable, sustainable housing in a city that has a shortage of inventory in core locations,” Ed Gallaudet, president of developer Build Urban, said. Continue reading

At Midtown Center, community hopes for Central District culture in redevelopment’s design

23rd and Union

The Central Area Land Use Review Committee hosted a meeting last week for developers and neighbors to discuss the ongoing Midtown Center project at 23rd and Union with the community. And while the meeting was ostensibly focused on the design of the project, neighbors and advocates at the meeting reminded developers of the block’s importance in the African American community’s past — and future — in Seattle.

The community meeting was a preview for an upcoming design review meeting that will take place July 18th at Seattle University that could be the project’s final step in the review process for the much watched development:

Design review: 2301 E Union

The project moved forward in the design process in January as many community members said they hoped to see more thought given to design that highlighted the corner’s place in African American culture in the city. Continue reading

After 38 years, time for some change on Broadway: La Cocina’s Cantina coming soon

Victor Santiago started working at Broadway’s La Cocina Santiago as a busboy in 1989. By 2001, he had risen the ranks of the Capitol Hill Mexican restaurant and taken over as owner, but not until later this summer will his hopes for the space finally come true.

La Cocina will be taking over the Starbucks next door to make space for a new tequila bar La Cocina’s Cantina. Currently, the restaurant features a small four-foot bar that sits in a little corner but larger drinking experience will soon be just one backdoor away.

“I always dreamed of having my own cantina bar,” Santiago, who grew up in a small mountain town in Mexico, tells CHS. Continue reading

Kaladi Brothers Coffee making big move to its first E Pike location on the same block

June on Capitol Hill, Kaladi Brothers Coffee

Capitol Hill’s Kaladi Brothers is going back to its roots but the change won’t mean you have to head way up north to visit the Alaskan-born chain’s E Pike outpost.

Later this summer, the popular coffee shop will move back to where it began its life in Seattle — a few doors down in a part of the same auto row-era building being overhauled from Sun Liquor’s shuttered mini-bottling operation into a new cafe and community space.

“I’m super excited because the flow of the current cafe, there’s certain things that are a little disjointed,” Erika Zumwalt, manager of the Kaladi location, said. “People will come in and kind of look around and say ‘Oh! Gonna go somewhere else,’” Zumwalt said. Continue reading

Meaty Johnson’s brings ‘Seattle barbecue’ to Capitol Hill

Pine’s newest addition is surely a win for the meat lovers of Capitol Hill. In May, Meaty Johnson’s BBQ opened at 1201 Pine.

“It’s one thing to make barbecue good, it’s another thing to make it good all day so that people can enjoy it,” said Meaty Johnson’s namesake, Zac Johnson, who also works as a real estate agent and music promoter. Johnson began barbecuing as a hobby, and it quickly became a hit with his friends and family. He then began catering for huge house parties of friends and the reception continued to be overwhelming.

Meaty Johnson’s got its entendre-ful start at Cowgirls, Inc., the notorious country bar concept with a 1st Ave Seattle location. Continue reading